Our History

Charles Singleton Ltd was established in the late 1940’s. The company began by making mother-of-pearl handles for the booming post-war Sheffield cutlery industry. As you can tell from the photos, it was a thriving place, that employed a considerable workforce.

By the 1960s, Sheffield’s world-famous cutlery industry was shrinking. Foreign markets were contracting and vastly increased and cheaper overseas competition was eating into Sheffield’s traditional heartland. Seeing that the writing was on the wall, and needing to safeguard his workforce, Charles realised he needed to find an alternative use for the mother-of-pearl that he imported and the skills that he had nurtured in his factory.

The answer was buttons! He invested in new machines to cut and shape the shells to produce mother-of-pearl buttons for the high quality garment industry. Over time, Charles and his successors kept the factory thriving with relationships with many of the UK’s most famous luxury clothing brands.

The factory is still in the hands of Charles’s family. Over the years, we have increased our repertoire to include many other shell and natural buttons, as well as a small range of man-made ones. We pride ourselves in being able to meet our customers’ bespoke needs, whether that is dyeing buttons to match particular knitwear garments, the creation of a wide range of sizes and styles or the inclusion of our customers’ branding in the design, to add a real touch of uniqueness.